DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – Wildly successful basketball seasons for the UD men and women continues Wednesday night when the men’s team plays at Rhode Island at 9 p.m. Back at home things are about to get a lot more hectic as UD Arena will play host to dozens of men’s, women’s, and even high school games over the next few weeks.
Both the men and women’s teams are huge draws in Dayton, even before national rankings, winning streaks, and top seeds in the conference tournaments. Then mix in hosting the women’s tournament, bringing the national College GameDay show to campus, and making sure tens of thousands of people stay healthy amid a national health scare. It’s a lot on the plate of arena staff, but they say they can handle it.
Scott DeBolt is the Executive Director of UD Arena. He says, “It’s an adrenaline rush leading up to every game day. March is called madness for a reason.”
A season that’s seen the dunks, victories, and national recognition pile up will soon get even more crazy off the court and behind the scenes. DeBolt says, “We’ll have 21 games over the next 13 days.” The madness starts Friday when the first of seven women’s A10 tournament games tips off.
The men’s home finale is Saturday night, and nine high school regional games will be played between the 10th and the 14th.
DeBolt says, “There is a lot of changeover there between signage, cleaning up, in between games, transferring out networks that are broadcasting the games, so a lot of coordination.”
The national spotlight will shine bright when the First Four of the NCAA tournament caps off the run on March 17th and 18th. “On selection Sunday, the 15th, we will take out our University of Dayton floor and bring in the NCAA floor and have everything set up for when the teams arrive on Monday morning.”
50-75 staffers help run the operations side of the arena. On a busy game day as many as 400 people will help create the ultimate gameday experience. But now the nationwide spread of the coronavirus adds another wrinkle to maintaining health and safety. “We’re just trying to encourage people to follow the guidelines that have been put out there. We will be adding some additional hand sanitizers around the building in the next few days and next few weeks.”
ESPN’s College GameDay also poses a logistical challenge with the national show broadcasting on campus this Saturday. Staff from the Department of Athletics and UD Arena will split up Saturday to make sure both locations run smoothly.
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